Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Book Review | Garden of Fiends edited by Mark Matthews

Garden of Fiends is an addiction themed anthology edited by Mark Matthews.

The intoxication from a pint of vodka, the electric buzz from snorting cocaine, the warm embrace from shooting heroin--drinking and drugging provide the height of human experience. It's the promise of heaven on earth, but the hell that follows is a constant hunger, a cold emptiness. The craving to get high is an intense yearning not unlike that of any other blood-thirsty monster.

The best way to tell the truths of addiction is through a story, and dark truths such as these need a piece of horror to do them justice.

The stories inside feature the insidious nature of addiction told with compassion yet searing honesty. Drug overdoses are now the leading cause of accidental deaths, and some of the most incredible names in horror fiction have tackled this modern day epidemic.

A WICKED THIRST, by Kealan Patrick Burke

THE ONE IN THE MIDDLE, by Jessica McHugh


FIRST, JUST BITE A FINGER, by Johann Thorsson

LAST CALL, by John FD Taff


GARDEN OF FIENDS, by Mark Matthews

RETURNS, by Jack Ketchum


Garden of Fiends is a really solid collection. I love the format of having such variable length stories, too. Two of the stories are novella length which is fantastic. The first novella is from Mark Matthews (also titled Garden of Fiends). There are so many layers to this story of a man trying to save his daughter from addiction.

The second novella is from Max Booth III.

Spiders, y'all. You haven't read a spider story like this one!

There are also short stories by Jessican McHugh (a stand alone excerpt from one of her novels), John FD Taff, Glen Krisch, Kealan Patrick Burke, and Jack Ketchum.

These are top-notch authors, and their stories are everything you would expect them to be.

There is also a flash fiction piece from Johann Thorsson which was the perfect offset to some of the longer works in the anthology.

I don't think this is a collection for everyone (nor do I think it tries to be). I do, however, think the audience it is intended for will love it. If you are a fan of any of these authors, I can't imagine that you would be disappointed.

Garden of Fiends takes on the horrors of addiction at full throttle, and I highly recommend it.

9/10: Highly Recommended

Review copy provided by editor/author

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  1. Oh my. This sounds so disturbing and even more so because it's talking about a true horror.

  2. Scary. I would like this. Though short story collections have been hard for me to get through lately. A patience thing.

    1. I have a hard time with collections, too. I had absolutely no trouble with this one.

  3. That cover is very creepy. I'm not really into short story collections (although there are a couple of novellas) but glad to see you enjoyed this.
    Lynn :D

    1. Collections have been hit and miss with for a while now. I have a hard time plowing through a lot of them, but this one was super solid.

  4. Wow what an interesting theme for an anthology. I like a good short story collection but don't read very many, but this one... I may have to get.

    1. Right? I'm liking the theme concept in general, but the addiction theme was a really strong one.


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